Dementia affects tens of millions of people worldwide and is the seventh leading cause of death. And as the world’s population ages, the number of suffers will undoubtably climb even further. Though often associated with old age, dementia can strike people who are much younger, referred to as young onset dementia. The disorder is a deterioration in cognitive function beyond what we would expect in the normal course of ageing. It is the result of various diseases or injuries which affect the brain and manifests itself with the progressive impairment of a sufferer’s memory, thought and behaviour. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which accounts for up to 70% of cases and there is currently no treatment to cure the disorder. However, studies show that people can reduce their risk of developing dementia by staying physically active, avoiding smoking or the excessive use of alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet. Other factors which can also increase the risk of developing dementia include depression, social isolation and cognitive inactivity, and it is these factors where various technological advances can be of great help. As such, in this blog, we will take a look at how technology is helping reduce the risk of developing dementia.
As mentioned, one of the risk factors of developing dementia is cognitive inactivity so we should all look to keep our minds active as we age. Moreover, those already suffering from dementia could also benefit from activities which improve mental agility. It is thought that games and social interaction can not only reduce the risk of developing dementia, but also help in its treatment and management. But it’s not always easy to find the right activities for each person and it is important that the activities target the correct part of the brain and are not too easy or too difficult. This is where technology can really help. Companies, such as GF Technovation in Hong Kong, offer a variety of products which boost cognitive function and promote social interaction, including ExBrain, VR360 and Obie interactive projector. Let’s take a closer look at these tech solutions here.
ExBrain is a pocket-sized device invented by world-renowned brain specialist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima. It safety detects brain activity using near-infrared technology to help therapists tailor cognitive activities for each person to target certain parts of the brain thought to be associated with dementia. Users can also play the brain training games in their own time and the associated mobile app, Brain Meter, can help them visualize their brain activity in real time.
Many elderly people find it difficult to get out and about to stimulate their minds. VR360 allows seniors to experience the outside world without ever leaving home. Through the VR360 virtual reality goggles, users can experience tours of different parts of Hong Kong to invigorate their memories and boost their cognitive activity. The content can also be tailored as required.
Obie is a great way to maintain hand-to-eye coordination, stimulate cognitive activity and encourage social interaction. It is essentially a gaming console with an advanced built-in projector and speakers. It projects images on to any surface, such as floors, walls and table tops and allows users to touch the projected images and play more than 50 specially developed games designed to boost mental agility. As users have fun playing together, it promotes communication and a sense of wellbeing.
Promoting mental agility and social interaction for the elderly is essential to reduce the risk of developing dementia and in its treatment and management. Learn more about GF Technovation’s elderly well-being products here.